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Oral history interview with Vern Cook

This oral history interview with Robert Vernon "Vern" Cook was conducted by Clark Hansen at Cook's law office in Gresham, Oregon, and Cook's home in Troutdale, Oregon, from December 15, 1994, to October 15, 1995. In the interview, Cook discusses his family background and early life during the Depression in Las Animas, Colorado, and in Gresham. He also describes being a young man during World War II; being denied enlistment in the Navy due to polio; and his rehabilitation from polio. Cook discusses studying political science at Reed College and law at the University of Oregon, all while working concessions at various businesses in California with his brother. He talks about practicing law in Gresham; his involvement with the Democratic Party; and his first campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives in 1956. Cook discusses the legislation he worked on while serving in the House, including taxation, education, and worker's compensation. He also talks about serving on the judicial committee and related issues. He discusses some of the legislators he worked with, including Pat Dooley and Monroe Sweetland, as well as Governor Mark Hatfield.

Cook then describes his experience in the Oregon Senate, including serving on the judiciary committee and legislation on taxation, particularly sales taxes, as well as health insurance, education, land use, agriculture, domestic violence, and labor. He also talks about working with senators Tom Mahoney, Edith Green, Walter Pearson, Debbs Potts, Monte Montgomery, Alice Corbett, Ted Hallock, Jason Boe, and Vic Atiyeh. Cook also discusses party politics and its influence on the effectiveness of the Legislature during his tenure; the 1968 Democratic National Convention; and working with Governor Tom McCall and Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt. He also talks about his unsuccessful campaigns for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate; his involvement in Frank Church's campaign in the Democratic presidential primary in 1976; and the financial difficulties he faced as a legislator. He closes the interview by discussing his career as a lawyer since leaving the Legislature in 1980.

Cook, Vern (Robert Vernon), 1925-2008

Oral History Interview with Art S. Bimrose Jr., by Jim Strassmaier

  • SR 1752
  • Collection
  • 1989-04-26

This is an interview done in conjunction with a 1989 OHS exhibit of Bimrose's work. In the interview, he discusses his childhood and education, his early art career during the Depression, the process of creating cartoons, the cartoonist's intellectual autonomy, politics and his feelings on war.

Bimrose, Art, 1912-

Oral history interview with Maria Council, by Gary Knapp and A. Krummenacker

Maria Council is co-founder/President of Peacock After Dark. Council discusses her introduction to drag; her drag influences including "drag mother" Patty O'Dora and Lady Elaine Peacock; her reputation as Northwest's First Lesbian Drag Queen and subsequently as the first biologically female Empress of the Rose Court; her experiences in workplaces that required different levels of closeting and self-censorship; and her involvement with the local Portland church community.

Council, Maria

Oral history interview with April Lewis, by Tyler Brewington and Heaven Hartford

In this interview, Lewis, shares some fascinating information about her family, her background in diversity training, her involvement with Portland’s lesbian softball league, and her experience of living through the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Now over twenty-five years sober, April speaks candidly about her identity as a recovering person, twelve-step programs, addiction and abuse within LGBT communities, and the importance of addiction recovery communities.

Lewis, April D.

United States District Court Oral History Project

  • USDCHS
  • Collection
  • 1966-2008 (bulk 1984-2008)

Since 1984, the Oregon Historical Society has partnered with the United States District Court of Oregon Historical Society to interview judges, lawyers and other legal professionals affiliated with that Court.
With an appeal rate at around 10%, the decisions made by the District Court of Oregon have been deeply influential on the laws and peoples of the state. It has presided over decisions on public land disputes and fishing rights, as well as civil rights and law enforcement. The stories of the people that make up this judicial body provide a valuable tool for helping the public understand the pivotal role the court has had on Oregon’s history.

Oral history interview with Owen Panner

This oral history interview with Owen Panner was conducted by Michael O'Rourke in Panner's chambers in Portland, Oregon, from November 24, 1994, to June 1, 1995. In this interview, Panner discusses his family background and early life in rural Oklahoma, including his experiences during the Depression and the Dust Bowl, and his interest in playing golf. He also discusses the racism he observed during his childhood. Panner then talks about attending the University of Oklahoma and his service in the Army during World War II, including meeting his first wife, Agnes Gilbert, and moving to New York at the end of his service. He then discusses returning to the University of Oklahoma and studying law. Panner describes moving to Oregon and practicing law in Bend from 1950 to 1979, including his impressions of the area and people, and several cases he tried during his law career. He speaks at length about representing the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, particularly on cases regarding fishing rights at Celilo Falls, the development of Kah-Nee-Ta, and the termination of the Klamath tribe. Panner discusses national political events such as the Vietnam War, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Nixon administration, as well as local politics in Bend, including the divorce of Oregon State Representative Al Ullman. Panner then describes his experience as a judge on the U.S. District Court in Portland from 1980 to 2018, including cases on civil rights, federal power, financial regulations, electrical utilities, and Tonya Harding. He also discusses the O.J. Simpson trial, mandatory sentencing, and the war on drugs. Panner discusses working with judges Otto Skopil, Robert Belloni, Gus Solomon, Jim Redden, and Edward Leavy. He also describes the relationship between the District Court and the Court of Appeals; the law system on the Warm Springs Reservation; and the day-to-day workings of the District Court. Panner closes the interview by discussing the modernization of the courts and his life outside the courtroom.

Panner, Owen Murphy, 1924-

Days With Chief Joseph

  • SR 1096
  • Collection
  • 1954-08-21

Erskine Wood discusses summer vacations spent in household of Chief Joseph.

Wood, Erskine

Oral History Interview with Flora Cushinway Thompson

  • SR 9586
  • Collection
  • 1971?

Flora Cushinway Thompson discusses her marriage to Chief Tommy Thompson of the Wyams, fishing, religion, and the fight against the building of the Dalles Dam.

Thompson, Flora Cushinway, 1893-1978

Oral history interview with Bill Curtin, by Greta Smith

Curtin discusses his family background and early childhood, Catholicism, the KKK, Portland Police, Unions, Bill's time in the seminary, St. Charles Catholic Church & School, Immaculate Heart Catholic Church & School, Father Tobin, Father Griffin, Father Robert Krueger, Emmanuel Hospital expansion project, Urban Renewal, Model Cities, Albina Fair Share, Oregon Fair Share, Organizing for activism in Albina, Saul Alinsky, Night life in Albina, Shops, businesses, people in Albina, Dawson's Park, Police community relations in Albina, Drug and alcohol recovery programs in Albina (the Victory Club and the Miracles Club), and Leaving the priesthood.

Curtin, Bill

Oral history interview with Harold Pubols, by Louise Pubols

  • SR 823
  • Collection
  • 1988-01-10 - 1988-01-22

Pubols discusses his family background, parents, siblings, Russian heritage, immigration to United States, early life working on a farm in Eastern Oregon, educational history etc.

Pubols, Harold

Oral history interview with James McDonald, by Marian Wood Kolisch

McDonald discusses his family background and early life in Scotland, his experiences during World War I in the Royal Air Force stationed in France, moving to Canada and working on farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan, moving to the United States, getting into the timber business, and becoming the British Consul in Portland just before World War II.

McDonald, James, 1899-1989

Oral history interview with Rudolph Luscher, by Susan Gaughan

  • SR 1038
  • Collection
  • 1984-08-16

Luscher discusses his family background and dairy farming in Clackamas County, Oregon, and the changes in milking technology and the dairy business over the 20th century. Bill Tegart was also present.

Luscher, Rudolph

Oral history interview with Barbara Mackenzie, by Jan Dilg and Katy Barber

  • SR 1936
  • Collection
  • 1999-09-27 – 2001-06-01

Barbara Mackenzie discusses her family history; childhood in eastern Oregon; growing up with brother, Ralph Tudor (later Secretary of the Interior); work at Celilo Falls during the 1950s relocation of Celilo Indians; work with the Red Cross; The Dalles Dam.

MacKenzie, Barbara

Oral history interview with Amo DeBernardis, by Corbett Gottfried

  • SR 2079
  • Collection
  • 1993-04-09 - 1993-11-05

De Bernardis discusses his family background and early life as the son of Italian immigrants in Northeast Portland, his education and teachers that influenced him, changes in higher education after World War II, the creation of Portland Community College and his time as president.

De Bernardis, Amo

Oral history interview with Donald McInnis, by Mary Gorsline

  • SR 1087
  • Collection
  • 1992-08-25 - 1992-11-10

McInnis discusses growing up in the Portland Metropolitan Area in the early part of the 20th century, his parents life moving around the Washington and Oregon States, and homesteading near Reedville, Oregon.

McInnis, Donald

Oral history interview with Sherma Norris, by Robert Gassner

In this interview conducted by Robert J. Gassner on August 26th, 1988, Sherma Sharr Jwayad Norris talks about her family background, her early life and the Syrian and Lebanese communities in Portland, Oregon, including the Syrian Star Society, which later became the Syrian-Lebanese Social Club.

Norris, Sherma J., 1914-1997

Portland General Electric Centennial Oral History Series

  • SR PGE
  • Collection
  • 1987

A series of interviews conducted by Judy Hartman and Craig Wollner with employees of Portland General Electric for use in creating a history of the company for its centennial in 1988.

Hartman, Judy

Oral history interview with Jean Black, by Karen Wingo

  • SR 9096
  • Collection
  • 1980-052-07

Black discusses his early life and education, studying in Rome, working in various research and academic libraries across the country, teaching library science, coming to Vanport, Oregon in 1946 to be a librarian at Vanport College, dealing with the aftermath of the 1948 flood, and the early history of the Portland State University library.

Black, Jean P.

Oral history interview with Sister John Mary Lane, by Roberta Watts

  • SR 9012
  • Collection
  • 1978-04-17 - 1978-06-06

Sister John Mary Lane discusses her family background and early life, getting involved with the Sisters of the Holy Names, women in the Catholic church and feminism, teaching, life in a convent, and teaching at Marylhurst College.

Lane, John Mary, Sister

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